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Health Care and the 2,000 Page Camel

From Ricochet:

“Do you know what a camel is?” It was a strange question, but since it came from one of my uncles who retired as a university professor, I knew the answer would be interesting. So what is a camel? “It’s a horse assembled by a committee of PhDs,” replied my uncle. Excellent point. Something happens when you assemble in a room a group of people who fancy themselves as the best and the brightest in a given field, something that in biblical terms is best described as a thing which, “passeth all understanding.”

Back in 2009, President Obama wrote to Senator Max Baucus and the late Senator Ted Kennedy that, “We should ask why places like the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and other institutions can offer the highest quality care at costs well below the national norm.” The answer appears to be that the Mayo Clinic knows how to reject a 2,000 page camel when it sees one. Today’s in-box includes news that a group of medical providers has taken the measure of the President’s health care law and found it wanting in virtually every category except that of bureaucratic incomprehensibility and heavy-handed regulation. Describing it as an “unusual rebuke” (to which one answers, “why should it be unusual?”), the AP story reports:

…an umbrella group representing premier organizations such as the Mayo Clinic wrote the administration Wednesday saying that more than 90 percent of its members would not participate, because the rules as written are so onerous it would be nearly impossible for them to succeed.

Donald Fisher, President of the American Medical Group Association, representing close to 400 large medical groups who provide services for approximately 1 in 3 Americans said, “It’s not just a simple tweak, it’s a significant change that needs to be made.” I suppose someone can tell Nancy Pelosi that people have finally read the bill that had to be passed before anyone would know what was in it, and they have concluded that this monstrosity simply will not work. The courts may or may not ultimately rule it Constitutional. But the people who have to ultimately implement this thing want no part of it.

Describing the laws provisions as, “overly prescriptive, operationally burdensome, and the incentives are too difficult to achieve to make this voluntary program attractive,” the medical group association sees huge problems on the horizon in a law that, according to the story, “rapidly exposes them to potential financial losses.”

All of which begs the following question: Why were the rules fashioned to be so burdensome as to jeopardize the very survival of these entities in the first place? As Obama himself put it, “I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately. There’s going to be potentially some transition process.” Or, as Barney Frank said, “…we don’t have the votes for it. I wish we did. I think if we get a good public option, it could lead to single payer and that’s the best way to reach single payer.” Anyone want to wager that this “overly prescriptive, operationally burdensome” camel is designed to precisely to squash private providers and usher in the era of a benevolent government provider?

History is replete with central planners who set out to make a better horse and instead brought forth a lopsided, smelly, obnoxious beast who spits and bites those who feed it while requiring more and more of them. Republican members of congress enjoy the trappings of office right now courtesy of an electorate that wants this law stopped, repealed, defunded, and killed. We may not be allowed to see Bin Laden’s corpse, but we’d sure like to see this odious law become fish food.


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